Re: Rapid prototyping of Multi-layered PCB

From: Brock Hinzmann (
Date: Thu Apr 30 1998 - 22:04:08 EEST

RP or PCBs probably predates stereolithography. At one time (circa
1990?), several companies existed to make prototype boards automatically in a
few hours. The machines were essentially 2.5-D printing machines, using a
variety of metal foils and/or conductive polymers. Some of the company names

Protoflex, Hudson, Wisconsin (a Girard company)
Direct Imaging, Inc., West Lebanon, New Hampshire
Printron, Inc., Albuquerque, New Mexico (a famous scandal)
Protoype Systems, Saratoga, California
Ariel Electronics, Sunnyvale, California
Somich Technology, Winnepeg, Manitoba
Instant Board Circuits, Novato, California

Several others were offering related machines or 3-D molding of printed
circuits. I suspect many of these operations no longer exist, but I haven't
checked on any of them lately. One of the proplems expressed by some
companies is that the boards must be fully functional prototypes, made of
production materials, and testable in real products. Contract manufacturing
companies, like Solectron, will make such fully-functional prototypes on a
one-off basis or in small batches and will even suggest and make design
changes, based on a wide range of experience. To get around Solectron's
capabilities, you would have to come up with something that is very cheap and
very fast and works really well. I am not saying it can't be done, however,
depending upon what you intend to do with the prototype.

It seems to me MCB had or has a journal called Circuit World. Perhaps
that would be a good source to start.

Brock Hinzmann
Technology Navigator
SRI International

lblasch wrote:
> Martti Huolila wrote:
> If you could license the MIT patent (like Zcorp) with the idea of
> alternating a non conductive powder and glue and metal powder and
> conductive glue you might get a nice niche on the market.
> -------------------------------------------------------------------
> Why couldn't you make the base material and the primary glue
> nonconductive but apply a second conductive glue/ink/material to
> the circut and you could build more than flat pcb's. The conductive

> material spray could be applied in such a way to make the through
> contacts between the layers of the circut. To attach the components

> you would plate the entire component with the plating only
> to the exposed conductive surfaces. In this way you could
> the printed circut within the case wall of the product instead of
as a
> seperate component.
> Make the conductive material applicator as an add on to the DTM or
> Stratisys...and you could build the product in the production
> with the circut as an integral part of the 3D design.
> It would work on the Actua and the Cubital as well but the material

> selection would be limited. Adding it to an SLA would be much
> because the conductive material would need to be applied to the
> top surface before recoating and the potential for blade contact
> be great.
> Sincerely,
> Larry Blasch
> System Administrator
> OPW Fueling Components
> P.O. Box 405003
> Cincinnati, OH 45240-5003 USA
> Voice: (513) 870-3356
> Fax: (513) 870-3338

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